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DVD: In-House or Outsource?

Do most funeral homes create their DVD’s in house, or do they outsource to their ‘local technology expert’?  To my surprise through months of questioning many different firms throughout the United States, it seems like it’s about 50/50; the main argument being time.  Folks who outsource will often say “we don’t have time to scan 30 photos, and create a DVD – there’s just not enough time in the day.”  They are right, days are filled, you have less staff, and higher expectations from the families you are serving.  Others will say, “Many families bring in their own DVD for us to play.”  This certainly takes the guesswork out of it, but potentially also introduces a lost opportunity.  Funeral service-produced DVD’s have come a long way in the last 3-5 years.  Companies within funeral service have made video generation software readily available, easy to use, and very reasonably priced.  Did I mention, easy?

First let’s look at what funeral homes are typically charging for a DVD; I’ve heard everything from free to $250.  Wholesale production/creation costs from companies within funeral service that provide video generation software seem to competitively range from $10-$25; very reasonable next to other items on the GPL.  Through conversation, on average to outsource the DVD creation to a local provider seems to be $100-$125.  I’ve seen higher, I’ve seen lower.  This may include additional charges for multiple copies, labels, DVD boxes, etc.  There’s also a good chance that someone in the immediate family can produce slideshows in either their Mac or PC world for free.  Encouragingly, I think we can all agree that no family member is thinking “DVD” immediately following the passing of a loved one.  This should tell us that when they come to meet with you, the expert…..funeral service has an opportunity.  You can take the pressure off the family, create the DVD in house, and make it YOUR product.  Be the producer and use your LCD monitor to display your product versus cousin Joey’s homemade rendition of what he feels is appropriate for a funeral home.  Funeral service can produce these DVD’s cost effectively, easily, and quickly, all while helping the bottom line.  A nice product that is priced reasonably also has the potential to sell additional copies for “all of the grandkids to take a copy home.”   Companies have also give you the ability to further personalize the DVD with ready print labels and covers for you blank CD jackets; further promoting the funeral home brand and dynamic service.

I connected with a friend, Michael Calcaterra, from Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township, MI and asked him about their decision to move from outsourcing to in-house production. “We need to continue to provide quality products and use in-house talent to create these products, all while controlling cost.  Outsourcing was expensive, and there is no difference in quality.  The DVD’s we will produce now are fast, high quality, and nicely priced.”   With a list of a thousand items to complete in the funeral process, adding an additional step can scare, frighten, and even anger funeral home staff which is why choosing the right video generation software can make a world of difference.  “We have carefully architected our products from the beginning with the funeral home in mind focusing on creating valuable solutions that are fast and easy-to-use and help funeral homes lower costs while increasing revenues,” says Curtis Funk, President/CEO of Tukios, Inc.   “The production needs to be fast, easy, competitively priced, and high quality.  That’s really what we are after,” adds Calcaterra.  The goal of making this easy on you and your staff is crucial, and vendors in funeral service are listening.

The most time consuming task always doubles back to photo scanning.  Just as DVD companies have come a long way scanners are now lightning fast and have time savings in mind.  With speed and dependability, there is an investment.  High speed scanners can range from $450 for your Cannon’s of the world, up to $1800 for the commercial Kodak.  I am sure you can find cheaper/more expensive models, but in the end a very reasonable business investment.  These high speed scanners are worth every penny, and will make photo scanning at the funeral home much less resource intensive.  If you couple the scanner with high quality video production software, you can’t lose.

Funeral service is constantly looking for meaningful ways to increase customer value and revenue; here is an opportunity.  DVD’s will never take the place of anything you do as a funeral director however they can elevate the funeral process and you in a positive way.  The DVD has gone from the occasional add-on to something as familiar as a register book in many firms across the US; others avoid them at all cost.  With technology on the minds of the American consumer at all times, this might be an easy way to make your offerings more appealing to this growing demographic.  I encourage you to start exploring the options to self create the DVD; you might be surprised how easy and how profitable this becomes.

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  • Chris Debnam

    One other scanner option I found is a feeder that actually attaches to certain Epsom scanners for 4 x 6 pictures or smaller. Usually 80 % or better of the pictures fall in to that category. You can start the scanner feeder and walk away and it will scan each one and stop when done this saves a lot of time.